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Trip Handicapping DVD by Dan Illman

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Trip Handicapping DVD by Dan Illman

Trip Handicapping DVD: Watching Thoroughbred Race Replays by Dan Illman

DRF Press

The Bottom Line

Handicapping today has been reduced to a numbers game. With so many bettors using the same numbers as everybody else, a throwback to the past rather than more software is needed to find an edge. Making use of video replays on TV and online, Dan Illman instructs the bettor on how to spot good and bad trips in order to find out who are good or bad bets next time out. This skill cannot be accurately conveyed in print; in 105 minutes Illman covered what might have taken several volumes of text to explain. Recommended to any veteran "numbers" horseplayer looking for an edge, or a novice player just learning the game.


  • Excellent introduction to trip handicapping
  • Entertaining narrative by Dan Illman
  • Skill cannot be learned by book, video demonstrates examples well


  • Would only be of interest to full-time handicappers who want to dedicate time and effort
  • Infrequent visitors to the track cannot make use of these skills


  • Good Trips (Bad Bets Next Time):
  • Hedge-hugging pocket trip, loose on the lead, let the duelers do the dirty work, the shortest distance is a rail trip
  • Bad Trips (Good Bets Next Time):
  • Wide off slow pace, won the duel lost the war, off slow and rushed, rated into submission,
  • The obvious trouble and why it's a trap, shuffled out, between rivals in-and-among them, closer in a no-pace race
  • Head-on replays and the start, ground loss in multi-turn races, when good trips go bad, last on the rail
  • Changing Leads: the importance, how to spot a change, why horses don't change, why horses change back to the wrong lead
  • Troublemakers: drifting lugging and bearing out; washed out; put to whip early; hard-ridden from gate; flashing of the tail
  • The Extraordinary: spotting a star in the making, rapid acceleration
  • The Gallop-Out: the proper gallop-out, gallop-outs good and bad

Guide Review - Trip Handicapping DVD by Dan Illman

Read most books on handicapping and it's all about the numbers: Beyer speed figures, fractional times, Timeform ratings, Sheet figures and form cycles, workout times, Tomlinson ratings, Dosage index, and all sorts of trainer and jockey angles reduced down to winning percentages and ROI's. But if everybody has the same numbers at their fingertips, all ready to be crunched by computer to get the same selections, where can you get an edge?

In the first DVD in the DRF Press "Elements of Handicapping" series, handicapper and columnist Dan Illman revives the lost art of trip handicapping, a purely analytical method where race replays are carefully studied for good or bad trips, and noting one's findings to recognize if a horse is a good or bad bet next time out. Using some 74 races from tracks across North America, he demonstrates good and bad trips, the true meaning of bad or impeded running lines, the body language of horse and jockey, and what to look for in the gallop-out. He takes more time showing the viewer how to spot a horse changing leads, and often-misunderstood concept, and how to recognize if the horse is on the right or wrong lead at various points in the race.

Illman particularly likes to show where horses may have artificially high or low speed figures, final times, or winning margins, with no reason given by the trackman comments. Depending on the trip, these horses may be overbet or underbet next time out by the unsuspecting public, and the objective of the trip handicapper is to exploit such situations. A good trip leads to inflated speed figures, leading to that horse being bet down next time, while a bad trip leads to poor figs and such a horse will be dismissed by most of the numbers players next time.

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